It is always convenient to generalize a country on its stereotypes. We all do it. We find one aspect of its society and apply it to every inch of the nation. I find that stereotypes do hold some truth. How else could they still carry so much weight? Nevertheless, we can use these stereotypes in a more beneficial way, which goes beyond labeling what follows them and what does not.
In America, and all places, its easy to allocate people to an ideology that is supposedly common. I do believe there is a thriving American attitude towards several things. Yet, this country obtains an incredible amount of communities that exemplify the cultural pluralism that prevails in the United States. The manners of thought generated in the United States is wonderfully vast, making me further curious on what my perspective is each and everyday.
I found myself pondering this as I spent time at my parents home in a small and well overpopulated town outside of Manhattan. The household environment(s) we spend our child years in mirror many of our qualities and values. It does not always mean that your parents ideals are photocopied into your psyche; however, the common way of life is not congruent with everyone around you, especially when growing up in the tri-state area.
On to my point of this post, or one might suggest a rant. Sitting in the kitchen of your childhood home where countless meals, laughs, and many many arguments occurred induces a satisfying and tear jerking nostalgia. You think about how the years past so quickly and laugh about the silliest of events. I could relive the scene of my late dog hoping on the table, while none of us were paying attention, and sneaking a hefty bite of my Dad’s salmon. He continued to eat it anyways. I have heard that a dog’s mouth is much cleaner than a human’s; maybe that is what they tell people so that they do not waste their dog saliva contaminated food. Or, maybe my Dad fed me that lie just so I am not revolted by his choice.
The kitchen is represented by the dinner table and all its glory, as it exemplifies the family dynamic. My family is pretty American, but still remains far from any stereotypes – with the exception of my mother butchering any word that is not found in the English dictionary (she manages to butcher some of those too.) I scored a wonderful moment of bliss at our table one night, as my Dad sneakily popped in cinnamon rolls in the oven after we feasted at the supreme Italian restaurant in my area.
This photo holds an incredible amount of significance than just a whole lot of sugary goodness. Every object displays something key to my family. To me, this new picture represents how intrinsically unique each facet of a family is, especially when comparing it to the whole of American society. At first, you can feel the warmth of the fresh delicious cinnamon rolls as they still drip with glaze. Their warm color complements the natural glow of the neighboring cherries, reminding you that summer has officially commenced. A checkered table cloth and a firetruck red place mat further emphasize where the patriotism lies. An eager hand slips in, unable to wait until the end of the nanosecond click of an iPhone 6 to snag one of the edible pleasures.
These details convey the portrait of the American life I know. I could lie and say that the cinnamon rolls are homemade by my mom, but that would cause for a misconception in my own personal history. My mother was never a baker, but the cook in the house. She attempted chocolate chip cookies and they crumbled, literally. The cinnamon rolls are prepackaged and not the Pillsbury kind. To be honest, despite my parents being on more the health conscious side, I have never liked the Pillsbury cinnamon rolls. I always wanted to write them a letter, declaring my anger for the deceitful results that are their cinnamon rolls. They do not even resemble the mouthwatering image on the packaging, looking too much like a plain cinnamon biscuit. Though these rolls are from a can too, they are produced by the Immaculate Baking Company, which uses basic non GMO baking ingredients and all that fancy jargon. The fantastic thing about them is that it makes it look like you made the damn buns since they actually look like cinnamon rolls. Yes, screw you Pillsbury doughboy (insert mic drop here.) I digress…
These rolls as well as the cherries are context clues of my family being proud Whole Foods fanatics, though I must say our small Whole Foods is the best one I have encountered so far. We do not fit into the Costco family image, given that there are not that many of us. This is both a luxury and a downfall, but I am sure many of you pondered the big versus small family dynamic many times, finding equal length pros and cons lists. Despite our family being on the smaller side, my mother is anxious to grab her cinnamon roll, being that it is arguably her favorite dessert at home. She likes to make sure the table is always set, no matter if we are having a three course dinner or just a bowl of ice cream. This practice has taught me the value of presentation as well as cleanliness, until someone knocks over the bottle of wine. Then, my mother surpasses her cinnamon roll level anxiety by an easy thousand.
These little observations show me how this whole scene has evolved into an essential component of myself. I could probably go on and on about particular things I notice, blabbering about random anecdotes that may only be funny to those who live in this household. But, I have said enough to know and express what this picture means. The photo could be easily bypassed as another quick attempt to score a nearly perfect visual to throw out into the vast Instagram community. It is much more than that. This is a moment in time that will hopefully continue to be replicated, only slightly different due to the variation in time.
Many of you may or may not relate to my photo, family, or anything in this post for that matter, a major aspect that provoked me to create this sort of post. Whether or not there is any similarity, this shows my American family.
*Not limited to only American families.